Date: Fall of 1985
Place: New York City
Restaurant: NOBU- 57th and 6th Ave
The back of his fried blonde head sat three rows in front of me. I felt…important.
She and I were dressed to the nines that night. We had just seen a bad fashion show at the institute and had walked outside. I was in the midst of hailing a cab when I felt three gentle taps on my shoulder. I turned around and he softly said, “Would you girls like to have dinner with us tonight?” I stared at his waxen pocked-marked complexion and two-toned owl-eyed sunglasses, which obliterated his eyes for about 5 seconds before coolly replying, “Yes.” He took my arm and said, “You and she will ride with me and the others will follow.” The others were Jean-Michel Basquiat, his latest smacked out protégé, Eric Goode, the owner of AREA and Elizabeth Saks of 5th Ave.
The Cab Ride:
We sat in the back seat. He insisted on the middle position and soon began an onslaught of questions:
“What’s your name?”
“Where are you from?”
“Ohio!” I’m from the Midwest too. Pittsburgh. Terrible place. Have you ever been there?”
“What do you do? Do you go to school? “What School? What do you study?”
Before we could barely answer, he would interject little compliments:
“Oh, that’s super!” “You’re Super!”…”Super”
“Oh, you’re beautiful!” “You’re beautiful” …Beautiful.”
“Michelle, who’s your favorite Movie Star?”
“Marilyn! I met Marilyn. Tragic. You have a great voice, you know. It sounds a lot like hers did.”
I said nothing. My heart was pounding.
“It’s true. Her voice was much deeper in real life. That little girl voice was only for her films.”
His voice was surprisingly soft with a slight snake-edged undertone.
I suddenly felt like I was being conned.
The owner—an excitable middle-aged Japanese man greeted us at the door. Immediately, he asked Andy for his autograph. Andy signed the book and said, “You both should sign it too.” but never handed us the book.
We waited in the lobby while the private dining room was being prepared. The other party soon arrived and blandly introduced themselves. Basquiat mumbled a hello and said nothing else the entire evening. The other two giggled and necked in the corner. Andy mentioned he was going to make a new movie.
No one responded.
We were ushered into a beautiful dining room—no chairs. Cushions. No shoes permitted. Two Geisha Girls waited at either side of a huge cherry wood table. I sat at the end opposite Andy and beside Basquiat who immediately produced a Tupperware container full of pot and put it beside him.
The owner ecstatically announced we were going to experience a traditional Japanese meal served in traditional Japanese style. He grandly stated that he would introduce each course as it was served.
An awkward silence.
Andy simply nodded and asked me what I wanted to drink.
“Ah a martini! I love a girl who can guzzle gasoline.”
He smiled at me. Ordered a Coke and began to gossip:
“Do you know Nikki Haskell?”
“Yes” (I lied)
“What do you think of her?”
“Oh, really? I think she’s terrible. Oh, you girls are super! Jean Michel, we should put her in our next film!”
Basquiat said nothing. The other two snickered. My friend looked like someone stuck a poll up her ass and I…ordered another martini.
To change the subject, I asked him about the past. I mentioned that I had read the book, EDIE and wondered how factual it really was.
He simply said, “Edie who?”
Dinner was served.
I don’t remember any more conversations probably because there were none. I do remember having difficulty eating my blowfish. Andy barely ate anything. Basquiat never smoked any of his pot nor offered it to anyone else. Elizabeth Saks and Eric Goode played footsy under the table with Basquiat. My friend continued to look uncomfortable and I ordered yet…another martini.
Andy paid the check, knelt at my feet and asked if he could help me put my black riding boots on. My hand on his shoulder, I let him do most of the work. He was tender and took his time. I wondered…
The owner offered to drive us downtown to AREA. We piled into his Mercedes limo. Andy sat in the front. We drove in silence. Said Thank yous and curt Goodbyes before entering the club.
That was the last we saw of them.
-VioletPlanet ( Image: -Unknown, Andy Warhol & Edie Sedgwick at a cocktail party, 1960s).